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Examining the Choices We Make

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
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August 12, 2021 8:00 am

Examining the Choices We Make

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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August 12, 2021 8:00 am

Understanding the power of volition; the importance of making sound choices (based on Gen. 4:1-7)

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God wants to bless you and give you the advantage of such His glory. Let's join Pastor Paul.

what choices we make. Go with me to Genesis chapter four, beginning with verse one. Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain and said, I have acquired a man from the Lord. Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time, it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord, Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of his fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but he did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So when the Lord said to Cain, why are you angry?

And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. But you should rule over it. Alright, let's begin to walk through this issue of choices. You say, boy, what a strange text for you to talk to us here we're about to go into another year, and you want to talk about Abel and Cain and Adam and Eve?

What up with that? Well, you'll see in a few moments. You'll see in a few moments, because the first point I want to make is often life calls for each of us to make choices. I want you to think with me through this message. Often life calls for each of us to make choices. Life is going to put you in a position where you've got to make choices. You don't have a choice but to make choices.

And so you need to understand that is par for the course. Life is going to put you in places from time to time, rather often when you think about it, where you have to make choices. Just think about your day and plot all the points during your day when you make a choice. Could be a subtle choice, a small choice, a simple choice, but it's something you decide on. Now, I called your attention to this particular passage because I want you to notice the volitional events in just the first five verses of the passage. All the things that are volitional, that are the result of somebody making a choice. First thing you notice is Adam and Eve had a baby.

That's a choice. Now the Lord had instructed them be fruitful and multiply. Absolutely true, and all mankind was given that call and to be fruitful and multiply. In other words, God creates us, but he uses the process of pro-creation in order to do it. And so we are the handiwork of God, but God doesn't do it because no stork dropped you into a nursery in your house.

That wasn't a stork's doing. It was God's will, but it was the result of a choice of two people. And so you need to understand that's volitional. They had a baby. And then you look and see in the next verse they had another baby.

That's another choice. They had Cain first, and then they had Abel. And that was a choice. I know some of you say, my parents told me I was an accident. Yeah, but that accident, that quote unquote accident couldn't have happened unless they made the choice to, here's the King James language, know each other. And so it's a choice that was made. It's a volitional event.

They chose to have one baby, then they chose to have a second baby. Keep looking at the passage. You also see that Cain became a man whose vocation had to do with agriculture. Why, again, the Lord had said to mankind that you were to have dominion over the earth. And literally that brought about the need for agricultural choices for people to make to ensure that the earth was replenished and the earth was constantly giving forth. And God put life in the seeds, but the seeds had to be developed, had to be planted.

All of the crops had to be planted so that there could be the process we know as agriculture. That was a choice. Cain became a man of the field, tiller of the ground.

Next choice, it talks about Abel. The younger brother, Abel, chose to keep livestock. That was a choice. Good choice so that the livestock could also be managed. Just like the worth was being managed by one man, then the livestock could be managed by another man in that family.

And that's how that family would be able to flourish and to pass on some skills and some life vocations to others. And so you see, that was a choice. Cain made the choice to become a man of the ground. And Abel became a choice of one who became a man who made the choice to keep livestock.

These were choices they made. Then when you move on, you see that they chose to give an offering to the Lord. And it is wonderful when we realize that offerings are just that. God blesses us as a result of us honoring him, the Bible tells you, honor God with the firstfruits. That came later on in the scriptures.

We're right here in the Book of Beginnings. But later on, the principle is spelled out very, very directly that you honor God who is the giver of life and giver of health and strength and all the good things that resulted in you having what you have. And the Bible says it is just right to honor God with the firstfruits of what you have. So the principle isn't articulated till later in the Bible, but here you see it practiced literally in the first family that God has given and the right response is for us to give back to him.

And so look at the choice that was made. Both of these men chose to give offerings to the Lord. In the course of time, Abel gave firstfruits and gave the fat of what he had and gave generous portions, it tells you. That was the choice Abel made.

I want to say a big thank you to God by how much and how conspicuous my gratitude is as I give to him. That's the choice Abel made. Cain, in the course of time, also gave an offering, but you don't see the language anything like what you see when it speaks of Abel. Cain's offering was rather casual, rather minimal, rather okay, I guess I need to do something for God. And so he brings an offering from the fruit of the ground based on his vocation, but it wasn't lavish.

It didn't have the feel even when you read the words. It didn't have the feel that you get when you read about how Abel gave, all right? So they both made a choice to give to the Lord. That was a good choice that they decided to give, but both of them gave differently. One man gave from a heart of generosity and a heart of worship, and he wanted to lavish his thanks on God by the way he gave his offering, and the other guy was rather casual.

He gave, but it didn't say to God what Abel's offering said to God. Let me pause just long enough to say that I want to help people live the abundant life here in the 21st century, but let me tell you in no uncertain terms, the only way to live the abundant life is to give God abundant praise and abundant worship and abundance even when you give into the kingdom of God. It matters what you give, it matters how you give, it matters what you give, and it matters why you give. Stay with us, the second half of Pastor Paul Sheppard's message is coming right up. We want to thank all of you who support Destined for Victory with your prayers and financial support, gifts that help Pastor Paul share the joy of the gospel message with a growing audience. Destined for Victory is supported entirely by friends like you, and this summer, when donations to the ministry often decline, your support is very much needed. Please, prayerfully consider making your generous gift to Destined for Victory today. Give online safely and securely from our website,, or give us a call at 855-339-5500. That's 855-339-5500.

You can't control what happens to you, only how you respond. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, examining the choices we make. I want to say, our church is very generous to people. I'm just, this isn't in my notes.

Let me just hit this real quick, and then I'm going to get back to my notes. Our church is very generous, and not only do we bless the kingdom in many ways, but we also bless the citizens of the kingdom, and we bless people in need in many ways. And since I've been a pastor, we've always made sure a part of our budget is airmarked so that people can be blessed when they are in need. But I've learned over the years that I've got to respect the fact that some people have not worshiped God properly in their giving, and so when you need help, you need to first look at your own life and say, what have I done to advance the kingdom? What have I done to worship God through my giving?

And if it is minimal or nothing at all, you need to realize you've been cursing your own life. Don't look to us to try to bail you out when you're living under a curse you brought on yourself. Fact of the matter is, we have to learn to honor God.

You say, well, you get that. Look right at this passage. They both made the choice to give, but they gave in different ways, and it had a different response from God himself.

What are you told here? God respected Abel's offering. I don't know about you, but I want God's respect in my life. God respected Abel's offering. God did not respect Cain's offering. And so don't come, well, God should be glad I gave you something, as many bills as I have.

He should be glad I brought some offering. No, no, no, God doesn't have to take anything off of you, just any old thing. You got to understand, worship even through giving is not, oh, God really needs you to do it. God doesn't need you to do it. The earth is the Lord's in the fullness thereof.

The world and they that dwell therein. The kingdom of God's going to use what you give, but God doesn't quote, unquote, need you to give. You need to give, and you need to give like Abel gave so that you put yourself in an able position to be richly blessed, all right?

Now I'm back to my notes. But you need to understand, choices have been made. The boys coming to the earth was a choice. The boys' vocations were a choice.

The boys giving were choices. I point these things out simply to drive home the fact that while there are things in life over which we have no control, you should not adopt the point of view that your life is exclusively the product of what happens to you. That's the point I want to make. Don't act like, well, I was born on the wrong side of the tracks. I was born the wrong gender or the wrong race or the wrong ethnicity or the wrong whatever.

You know, I came already behind the eight ball. No, no, you need to get that out of your mind. You need to realize that God is putting you in a position to be blessed by teaching you how to make choices that will result in you being blessed.

It's about your choices. Yes, we all have stuff happen to us that's not good. There's nobody watching this service right now who can say everything in my life has been wonderful. I haven't had a sad time. I haven't had a tough moment in my life. I haven't had any difficulty.

I haven't had any challenges, any trials. If you could honestly say that, you need somebody to lay hands on you, pray for you, pour oil on your head, because you are deceived. Fact of the matter is all of us know what it is to be facing challenges from time to time, situations that were not of our making, difficulties, sicknesses, circumstantial changes that we wish we could change, but things happen to us. But here's what I want to say. You need to get out of the stuff happened to me, and that's why I'm in the position business.

You need to get into a new attitude and realize that yes, there are things that happen to us that none of us have any charge over, but we can make good choices, and when we make good choices and right choices, God then will respond by blessing us and making up for the fact that we all have to go through some tough things in life, and you'll see the hand of the Lord bring you through your difficulties. In other words, one of the authors that blessed me so much when I first moved to California back in 1989 was a man named Stephen Covey. He's no longer with us, but Stephen wrote some wonderful books, and the book that really impacted me in 1989 when I moved to California, in fact, I believe the book came out that year, was Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and he talks about a lot of really strong principles. He was a religious man, and so I know that a lot of the principles came from the scriptures.

He didn't cite scriptures in the book. It's a secular book, but believe me, it was chock full of a lot of principles that I could easily trace as being rooted in the scripture, and one of the concepts that he talked about throughout that book was we've got to learn to operate in our circle of control versus our circle of concern, or sphere of control versus sphere of concern. However he put it, it is two different areas, and he said too many of us spend too much time in our sphere of concern. And those are all the things you're worried about, all the things you're concerned about, all the things you regret, all the things you don't like, all the things you wish were different in your life. Sphere of concern, some of y'all live in concern.

That's the city you live in, concern. And Stephen taught we've got to learn to operate in the circle of control. That's where your choices cause things to happen, and I need you to know that God wants to bless you like never before, but you have to position yourself to be blessed by making better choices.

So that's the first point I want to drive home. Often life calls for each of us to make choices, and when it calls for us to make them, it's up to us to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to us. Stop talking about who's holding you back, stop crying about this is an unfair world. It's been an unfair world. Welcome to earth.

You will know when you get to heaven because you will notice the improvement. Fact of the matter is this world is never going to be fair. This world is never going to be right. This world is never going to do everything the way God wants it done because this world's system is governed by the God, small g, of this world.

That's not Jehovah, that is Satan. He governs a system that is against fairness, against justice, against right. Doesn't mean we shouldn't fight for those things on earth. We should, but I'm just telling you, don't you ever believe that you're going to get all the justice and all the fairness in this world. That's not going to happen.

You got to go to another world for that and I'm glad that because of Jesus, we're all on our way who have trusted him as savior and Lord. So let me begin to make the second point and then I'm going to take a quick break. When you make a poor choice, you should own that fact. All right, now life's going to set you up to make choices. That's the first point, and the second one is when you make a poor choice, you have to own that fact.

You would do well to own that fact. Look at what's said in this passage here in Genesis 4. It says, and Cain was very angry, watch this, and his countenance fell.

Cain was very angry and his countenance fell. Wait, wait, wait, look at the passage. You saw the choices that the two guys made. His brother made a choice to make a big, grateful statement to God, it was a choice Abel made. Cain also made a choice, and while he gave, he made a choice, and while he gave the method and the fact that it wasn't lavish and wasn't born of a heart of truly trying to make a statement, Lord, I love you so much and I appreciate you so much, and I want to lavish this on you, his offering was casual, it was regular, it was reach in your pocket, whatever you pull out, give it in the plate.

Remember back in the days you'd walk around for offering in church and you'd just drop something and then keep on going back to your seat. He chose to give that way, so the question is, so why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen when the only reason God didn't respect it is because of the choice you made? So you got to understand that when you make a poor choice, you should own that fact. We've all made bad choices from time to time. God won't condemn you, so don't condemn yourself. Instead, make the next right choice.

As C.S. Lewis said, you can't go back and change your beginning, but you can start now and make a new ending. If you need a little help in making that new ending, if you've made some bad choices and you feel helpless to reverse your decision, please reach out to us anytime and ask for prayer. Our ministry team will be happy to join you in praying for whatever need you may have. Visit, use the contact us feature to share your request. While you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. And we have a great resource to share with you today, Pastor Paul Shepherd's booklet, You're in God's Army Now.

In his letters, the apostle Paul describes the church in various ways, a flock, a body, an army. And in this booklet, Pastor Paul reminds us that we are continuously involved in spiritual warfare and explains what it takes for us to become good soldiers. That's You're in God's Army Now, a booklet from Pastor Paul and our gift to you by request for your generous gift to Destin for Victory today. Call 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again, the address is Destin for Victory, box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. In God's kingdom, there is hope and help available to those who are willing to be saved. Those who are willing to confess their mistakes, their sins, their shortcomings. In the kingdom of God, failure doesn't have to be final. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul's Shepherd's Message, examining the choices we make. But until then, remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-16 01:28:03 / 2023-09-16 01:36:49 / 9

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